Resolution on Religious Extremism in Israel

Whereas Israel’s Declaration of Independence proclaims equality in social and political rights, including women’s rights, stating that Israel “will ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race or sex; it will guarantee freedom of religion, conscience, language, education and culture.”;

Whereas our tradition extols the virtue of treating fellow Jews with civility, respect, and tolerance, including: “Let the honor … of your associate be like your reverence for your teacher, and the reverence for your teacher like your fear of Heaven” (M. Avot 4:15); “all Israel are responsible for one another” (BT Shavuot 39a); and “These and those [i.e., the utterances of both] are the words of the living God (BT Eruvin 13b);

Whereas the Israeli government does not mandate that haredi institutions provide secular education or prepare them to be citizens of a democratic country;

Whereas many members of the Haredi community spend their lives engaged in state-subsidized study, draining scarce public resources;

Whereas religious radicalization in Israel is a direct result of policies that perpetuate a haredi population that is uneducated and unprepared for the workforce and this has contributed directly to increasingly more frequent incidents that violate basic civil right in Israel and even led to  attacks against women and girls; and

Whereas it is the responsibility of the Israeli government to maintain the rule of law. 

Therefore be it resolved that the Rabbinical Assembly call upon the State of Israel to take all necessary steps to affirm the equal rights of women;

Be it further resolved that we call upon the government of Israel to investigate and prosecute, to the full extent of the law, any acts of violence or intimidation against women and, if necessary, pass additional laws to facilitate the full prosecution of such wrongdoing;

Be it further resolved that the Rabbinical Assembly call upon the State of Israel to institute equal and just funding for all the recognized streams of contemporary Jewry in keeping the guarantee of Freedom of Religion and Conscience as stated in Israel’s Declaration of Independence;

Be it further resolved that the Rabbinical Assembly call upon the Israeli government to mandate for the Haredi school systems a minimum level of secular education to prepare students to enter the workforce and to provide a basic civic education for all students to ensure the ongoing survival and flourishing of Israeli democracy; and

Be it further resolved that, in keeping with the recent Israeli Supreme Court decision to repeal the Tal Law, the government of Israel terminate its privileged State subsidies for the general Haredi community.

Passed by the Rabbinical Assembly Plenum, May, 2012